Overall I enjoyed the beta putting in 39 hours this far. (If it's still up when I get home from work today I'll put more in) There were few things that really stood out as solid, and a few things that needed work. I'll start with the negatives so we can end on a positive note.
the mutiny bug/system.
Technical problem: I'm not sure if this was a bug or just the way the mutiny system works but it is poorly explained. Sometimes I could execute some of my crew to cancel the mutiny, other times I couldn't. If it was my flagship I just got to watch it sail off the board with no way to rally it. If it was another line vessel, I could use the flagship ability to force them back into place.
The only bug I for sure found with the mutiny system is at times when I would execute to regain control of the vessel it would freeze. I don't have a better word for describing what happened. The status bar would show up as a mutiny going on, the vessel would be dead in the water even if its engines were functioning and it would not fire on anything defensively or otherwise. All skills were unusable, greyed out and it would just sit there doing nothing. This was common place enough that at higher level play I could cease fire and all stop a vessel and at times my opponent would assume that the mutiny freeze happened to that vessel and shift his fire to another vessel.
Solution: clear up the mutiny system and make it more explained or easier to understand. Make it one system or the other, not a combination of both. If it's an execute system, continue with your theme of limited charges, but applied to executions. If it's a flat run away mutiny system, allow all battleships, grand cruisers and battle cruisers to have some sort of rally system. Again with limited charges, 2 for flagship, 1 for the others.
Feedback Problem: Words cannot describe how much I loath this gameplay. Yes the tyranids only have 3 charges to use, yes the harpies are slow but all and all it doesnt matter. The fact that the harpies can take out turrets and deal troop damage, de-crewing a vehicle while their mother bases fly off is extremely broken. The tyranids then would escort capture the entire map and the other player would be unable to do anything but a crawling advance to a single point because he would have to cluster and set his status to brace in order to deal with the waves. On top of the issues with harpies, the assault boat waves after that would cripple a still smoking, barely moving fleet. The harpies not only destroyed all defensive turrets on their targets, but either lowered the crew to red levels or forced remounts of vessels. Which still had them at red levels. So the assault boats were pretty much guaranteed crits and skuttle status of the targets.
Solution: As a longtime fan of all things Warhammer 40000s I can't deny the fact that massive space tyranids crashing through a ship eating crew members is awesome. It's what the space bugs of the 41st millennium do. My solution to this is to lower the rate of which the crew death happens. The ship itself is massive, so thematically it could make sense as the defending boarding members forming defenses against the bugs, and crew hides in parts of the ships fighting when they encounter them. In a fleet of already abundant crew eating abilities the harpy spam crew eating just feels over the top.
kin crewed Dark Eldar Damage per second spam (never calling them Drukhari)
Feedback problem: this mechanic is a difficult problem in my opinion because there is the skill cap argument. Before I dive into that I'll explain the base problem. The kin crewed guns upgrade on dark eldar vessels (particularly the Obsidian Rose Battleship) made the damage per second (dps) unfairly high. This is an interesting problem because like I mentioned earlier, there is the skill cap argument. In order for this dps build to get to its absurd levels, an admiral has to have excellent micro of his fleet, handling each vessel with care. Making sure to perfectly time your Vauls maneuvers and speed boosts. Keeping your fleet stealthed for as long as possible, and making sure to rotate ships to not allow focus on one. You could extend this entire argument to the dark eldar in total. If someone without technical skills or know how play as the dark eldar, they will get destroyed because of the low health of the vessels. But if an admiral with technical skill comes to the helm, it's an entirely different fleet and arguably unbeatable. I guess my issue here is the dps kin crew builds make it so that a fleet already loaded with potential is pushed to a single build and to easily dominates without counter-play options.
Solution: Devs, I'm going to be honest. I don't have a solution for this one because both halves of the argument make sense to me. The skill cap of dark eldar balances them, but the dps kin crew makes the other builds worthless. It's really up in the air and an unclear solution from my point of view.
tau escort spam
Feedback problem: this one is cut and dry. The tau have a capability to field an unfair amount of overpowered escorts. They have multiple skills that can buff them and the overall dps is unfair.
Solutions: only allow a single extra escort for the ships with the bay skill bringing extra escorts. Or if you don't want to do that because of the tau tendency to spam smaller drone based systems, raise the points cost of vessels that can bring extra escorts. My favorite potential solution is make the extra escort it's own vessel class instead of one of the preselected escort classes. My idea is below
Krill class: small drone controlled vessel with 2 defensive turrets and a single rail gun battery. For stats, take the warden/orca class escort stats for shields, armor, hitpoints, moral, etc and reduce them all by 25%. You could even make the voice over a robotic drone voice making these escorts literal drones.
Don't allow the Krill class to be selected in fleet construction, only allow it to be taken as the extra escort upgrade. This will (in my opinion) balance the spam, and also make it easier for admirals to identify which vessels are the extras, and which are selected at fleet creation.
Problem: I am an old school rts player, and like my qwerty keybindings, using the minimap and control groups for long range camera orientation, and mousing to the edge of the screen for short range camera orientation. When I tried rebinding my keys to the qwerty formatting, it only applied to the flagships, not my other vessels.
(I have no idea if you understand what I mean by qwerty keybindings so I'm going to explain. My apologies for coming off as a grognard.) I would take the stances and bind them to q, w, e and r. A is bound to attack move, s is bound to full stop, etc etc. I take the binding and arrange them all on the left hand side of the keyboard so my hands dont have to move as much, and I dont have to mouse back and forth from the skills and the play area. The other option is binding them to the function keys so that the skills arranged across the bottom of the screen correlate with the function keys across the top of the screen.
Solution: I'm not sure if it was bugged or what, but make it so keybindings work for every ship, not just flagship.
necron warp jumps
Feedback problem: 90 second warp jumps for necron vessels are too short.
Solution: make the cooldown longer or the jump distance shorter.
Now onto the positives!
overall ideas, fleets and game execution was solid.
You guys have done a fantastic job learning from the mistakes of the first Battlefleet Gothic Armada. I love that you've put 12 factions into the game, and the differences between them make for fantastic gameplay. Even the differences in individual fleets make mirror match ups interesting because the fleets could both be playing entirely different strategies.
the skill system applying to only flagships is a great balancing and simplification system. I still shudder thinking of the warp jump imperial fleets of the first Battlefleet Gothic Armada.
3)the promise of more multiplayer game modes and more extensive campaigns is titillating. (If you don't know what titillating means, look it up)
4)overall, I enjoyed the fleet customization, but the one thing I begged for in the first battlefleet gothic and will continue to beg for in the second one is please please please almighty dev's, bless us with an army painter to make our own color schemes for ships. One of the greatest parts about the warhammer hobby is the painting aspect, the total customization and artistic expression that it allows. I love when games in general bring army painters, but any warhammer game that doesn't have one just isnt shimmering as brightly as it could and should be. Out of all changes that is my biggest request. Please put an army painter into the game that let's me create my own color scheme for my fleet.
Thanks for a fantastic first round of beta testing and looking forward to the second,